So, I have talked about de-cluttering and I think we are all in agreement less is more. The beauty industry has always been centred on multi-selling and buying the full range of products. The industry average sale per transaction is three, so they hope to sell at least 3 items per customer. We have all thought that to get great results, we had to buy every product. (Many of which we never use) Major changes are now occurring, people are becoming overwhelmed by having so much stuff. Now it’s the age of low-effort beauty. As awareness grows of the impact that the sheer amount of our purchases have on the planet, it is clear that conscious consumerism is here to stay. Trends such as slow beauty and minimalist beauty point the same way, shoppers are not only drawn to buying less, they can see the beauty benefits of using fewer products. Whilst buying less for themselves consumers are still expecting products to deliver all of the results they want. There is a shift towards purposeful beauty that will only become more pronounced in the future.
In the year 2020 and the decade ahead, beauty brands must go beyond product, and contribute positively to the world– Cosmetic Business Report 2019.
What are the global trends and how will these affect the environmentally – minded consumer? As young consumers gain more spending power, they have different expectations of the beauty world. They fully expect brands to prove that there is a reason for their existence, one that contributes in some way positively to the environment, to society and to supporting individual expression.
According to Mintel, over the next 10 years, two distinct forces of change will disrupt the beauty consumer landscape. The brand to consumer relationship will shift in a more seismic manner, as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds) goes mainstream. At the same time, consumer behaviour will become increasingly polarising and fluctuate across a spectrum driven by information and emotion. Consumers will explore the push-pull between nature and science; each must support the other to expand beauty consumption.
The three main trends are below:
Water– The new luxury Water is set to become a precious commodity as consumption outstrips supply. The more consumers become aware of this, the more beauty brands will need to change how they manufacture and formulate products to limit their dependence on water.
Power Play- Consumers are facing an energy crisis as the pace of modern life catches up with them. Aware of consumers’ need to make long-term lifestyle changes to address falling energy levels, beauty brands are delivering products that put energy claims at the forefront of their message.
Gastronomia – ‘it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The interest in natural ingredients is on the rise as more people dare to push up their sleeves and get involved in the process of creating beauty products.
In layman terms what does this all mean? Consumers will increasingly seek out brands whose values align with their own, 90% of consumers believe that companies and brands have a responsibility to take care of the planet and its people. Ethical and sustainable beauty will continue to dominate the industry. Brands will be required to display greater honesty and transparency about their products, which will include the ingredients, some of which have been guarded secrets.
“Looking ahead to the new decade, brands will begin their shift away from misleading buzzwords and hyped ingredients towards a more sustainable industry that considers tomorrow’s ecosystem,” says Jessica Smith, Senior Creative Researcher at The Future Laboratory.
I have worked with a few, independent beauty companies, packaging is always a huge problem to resolve, striking the balance between using less, but packing safety and causing less harm environmentally. Smaller companies who want to do The Right Thing may be limited financially in adapting to the changing market. However, as the industry continues to be spotlighted for its environmental impact and waste, all brands, large or small, need to look at reducing waste by removing unnecessary packaging. During Zero Waste Week, it was reported that the cosmetics industry produces 120 billion units of packaging per year. Which means that 18 million acres of forest is annually lost in part due to the cardboard used for beauty products. I met a small artisan company who had come up with some ingenious ways of packing sustainably on a tight budget.
The bring-back loyalty-based recycling schemes for bottles and jars, are a further way for brands to help consumers tread more lightly on the planet. Started by the Body shop. Anita Roddick, the founder of ethical beauty consumerism, I am sure would have had some great ideas!
We were all shocked at the plastic pollution in the scenes shown in the 2018’s Blue Planet TV show. Most businesses are actively trying to replace plastic with glass and aluminium which can be fully recycled and where possible using recycled packaging. Refillable and reusable packaging initiatives have been adopted, the larger refills, cut down on packaging and are cost- effective to the customer, these are appearing more and more in the mainstream market. Fully recyclable products will become a baseline and compostable packaging will be introduced more widely according to plastics provider Eastman, which recently announced three recycling technology loops using landfill-bound waste, bio-content, and consumer take-back materials to produce plastic packaging. The future could see plastic waste used as feed-stock and transformed into uncompromising luxury packaging that is indistinguishable from packaging made from fossil-based raw materials.
The luxury skin- care brand Haeckel’s, bio-contributing mycelium and seed paper packaging can be planted in the garden to add nutrients as it biodegrades and brings new plant live when the seeds germinate. Haeckel’s founder Dom Bridges says: “If shopping as a concept is to continue it must on all levels create at least no waste, but in order to create true sustainability, every product we make needs to contribute back to the ecosystem.
But beyond packaging, consumers are starting to question the sustainability of natural ingredients used in their beauty products and just how natural ‘natural’ products really are. Brands will need to have the confidence to explain exactly why they are using naturals or synthetics, particularly if the latter is more sustainable or long lasting. Over the past year, dozens of brands across the board have gained certification according to ethical standards, with cruelty-free and 100% vegan claims becoming increasingly common within the industry. While the beauty industry has traditionally been viewed as a culture of vanity and luxury, now characteristics such as health, ethics and positively impacting the environment, are the new status symbol. The bar has been raised for everything from efficacy to ethics, and in the years ahead, the consumer demands for ethical purchasing will evolve even further. The challenge will be how brands can innovate sustainably, develop alternative ‘greener’ packaging and adapt to the consumer-led changes.
The beauty industry has seen an influx of multi-task products hitting the market recently and there seems to be a fresh new buzz surrounding the reasons why these products are becoming such an integral part of our daily regimes. Men’s products, particularly those geared around sports, have often been multi-purpose, by that I mean a hair and body wash or a 2 in 1, shampoo and conditioner. In the 1980’s high volume, mass- produced products were made this way and promoted as a way of saving money, today the companies prompting these 2 in 1 products are more about saving the planet. The US brand, Illuum, with its you deserve less philosophy has fewer products, fewer ingredients and less skin stress. This skin care brand offers only six products, many of which contain just two or three ingredients each, which are designed to equip skin with the tools it needs to perform the job it was designed to do. Beauty experts have admitted that using too many products is worse for your skin that using too little, and have openly encouraged a pared-back beauty routine.
If we buy into using multi-benefit products and the movement of less is more, by having 5 products in our bathroom instead of 15, is a positive step we can all take towards softening our environmental footprint.
I am going to try it, after I have de-cluttered my over-flowing bathroom cabinet. Will you too?